General Education courses

In 2016-2017 the faculty in the Slavic Department will offer the following General Education courses, which may also count toward undergraduate concentration in Slavic Literatures and Cultures:

Fall 2016 Semester Courses

Culture and Belief 38. Apocalypse Then! Forging the Culture of Medieval Rus'
Prof. Michael Flier
Mondays and Wednesdays, 11–12 noon
When the natives of Medieval Rus (later Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians) accepted Orthodox Christianity in the 10th century, their nature-based paganism gave way to a powerfully sensual belief system that made good use of the visual and the verbal to prepare these newest Christians for the coming Apocalypse and Last Judgment. We investigate this transformation from the conversion of Saint Vladimir and the excesses of Ivan the Terrible through the Time of Troubles and the modern turn of Peter the Great. The class features close analysis of architecture, icons and frescoes, ritual, folklore, literature, and history to understand this shift in worldview, including the role of women. Special attention is devoted to the ways in which Medieval Rus is portrayed in film, opera, and ballet.

Spring 2017 Semester Courses

Culture and Belief 42. Communism and the Politics of Culture: Czechoslovakia from World War II to the Velvet Revolution
Prof. Jonathan Bolton
Mondays and Wednesdays, 11–12 noon
What was Communism, and how did it shape the intellectual life of East Central Europe after World War II? How do artists and writers counter the ideological pressures of the state? This course examines how the intense political pressures of invasion, occupation, and revolution shape a country's cultural life and are shaped by it in turn. We look at Czechoslovakia's literature, drama, film, and music from the 1948 Communist takeover, through the Prague Spring and Soviet invasion of 1968, to the 1989 Velvet Revolution, a hallmark of the peaceful overthrow of Communism in Europe. We consider works by Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal, Vaclav Havel; films of the Czech New Wave (Milos Forman, Vera Chytilova, Jiri Menzel); clandestine publishing and underground art; and theories of political dissent under authoritarian regimes.

Societies of the World 52. Russia in Global Perspective
Prof. Julie Buckler and Prof. Kelly O'Neill
Tuesdays and Thursdays,10–11am
From the Middle East to the Pacific rim, Russia has re-emerged as a major player on the world stage. Russia has transitioned in significant ways since the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union ("the evil empire"), just as it did during the tumultuous aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that ended a 300-year imperial dynasty. Through in-depth, interdisciplinary examination of six key themes with contemporary as well as historical resonance (conquest, political terror, the environment, commerce, imaginative representations, and mobility), we will investigate the evolving concept of "Russianness" in a global context. Assignments include curation of a "Russia in the World" digital exhibit.